H OU R S
The evening was young when the report reached them.
In the wake of the disastrous season finale of Dance or Die - a rather hit holovision series - the lead personality found himself stuck between a rock and a hard place. With the Confederacy still crawling all over the station where the last episode had aired, Chad did not have any opportunity to scrape together a comeback. He had no chance to damage control. No hope in doing anything really, except sit on his hands and wait for the producers to get back to him. Thus, when faced with the potential end of his career, the rather attractive Host decided to do what most men did when they were in trouble. Go home. In particular, he wanted to pay his aging mother and senile father a visit at their condo on Kuat. Perhaps spending some time doing the simpler things would have been just the refresher he needed to get his life back on track.
Or so he thought.
It was approximately eight thirty in the evening, Geonosis time, when the frantic calls began to erupt over the public channels. Ever comm-number that was publicly known, from the department of Health to Golbah City's local animal shelter, seemed to be pinged by one frantic individual. The message they received was simple, but damning. Upon watching the azure hologram, one would first be greeted with the sight of Chad himself. Smiling. Walking about the halls of the public transit vessel as if he were about to promote a new series - but his words stated he was heading home for some much needed R&R. Then, the explosions began to rock the ship around him. Flames were visible, as were the terrified screams of those within proximity to the holovision celebrity. After gaining his footing, Chad grabbed one of the staff who was within reach and demanded to know what was going on.
"I-I don't know, the captain was hailing the New Republic and then-"
Another explosion. A break in the transmission. Upon reconnection, the frantic expression of Chad can be seen alongside a handful of survivors. It would become immediately evident that the star had crammed himself into an escape craft. And as the vessel attempted to make its way to safety, Chad's camera was pointed to the remains of their transport. The Ainatisul had been broken clean in half by ordnance. Its white hull marred by the black of what appeared to be turbolasers which had shattered the ship's shields. Shaking hands then turned the device back. Gone was the confident, mirthful expression of the holovision star. In its place, sheer terror. Behind him, one of the surviving staff members weeped in their hands. The ship was beautiful, but ill-prepared for any such assault. Only a handful of escape pods were featured in the design. Thus, only a handful of souls would live to tell the tale, whilst over one thousand Confederate lives were lost to the void of space.
N O W
Skepticism was not the absence of empathy. But rather, it tempered the mind in order to ensure the survival of the body. By the time Chad's escape craft made it back to Confederate space, the transmission had gone viral. News outlets were covering the tragedy and calls for the Republic's condemnation were being made across all platforms. The star himself found himself at the epicenter of a media whirlwind - but before he could sit down for even the most modest of interviews, he was promptly taken into Confederate custody. The survivors were interviewed by the Knights Obsidian. Their minds probed for any knowledge of foul play and to see various angles of the tragedy in real time. Their findings...were damning. From the account of the surviving staff members, the vessel had complied with all international policies and was making a routine transmission before heading to Kuat.
From those aboard, there were no signs of foul play. No signs of tampering. Smuggling. Or any other acts that would have justified a ship being ripped in half. With this report in hand, the Obsidian Knighthood provided their findings to the Viceroyalty. Perhaps it was the pressure of the media which saw their response given so quickly. Perhaps it was the fact that over a thousand Confederate citizens would never again see their homes or loved ones. But nonetheless, the congregation of the Confederacy's governing body was brief. Shorter than nearly any issue ever discussed. A near unanimous cry was given for a response - and once more the Southern Systems would find themselves beating the drums of war. So often, they strived not to see new Imperial powers take root among the stars. But this time, they had to put to death a corrupt democracy.
This time, it would be the New Republic which felt the sting of their wrath.